In fact, Billy Ray Jr. may be more like Carroll, a lively, musically talented woman who works as a purchasing secretary for the Piano schools. She is usually given credit for her son's musical gifts—he can play the piano, bass guitar and trombone—but she wonders how much anybody had to do with his character. "All of our children are different," she says. "Our older son is more like his dad in a lot of ways. But Billy has always been so good-natured and poised, so filled with confidence. He just showed up smiling. And nobody can take credit for that."
As draft day has gotten closer, Smith has for the most part stayed at his apartment in Fayetteville and worked out daily with teammate Steve Korte, an All-America guard. The two have been lifting weights feverishly and running to improve their speed. Smith was a linebacker in the Senior Bowl and impressed all the scouts with his savvy at a position he'd never played. But there was minor concern among the scouts that he might not be heavy enough or fast enough to dominate in the big league. Last season he played at as low as 228 pounds; his 40 time was supposedly about 4.9, a little slow for an outside linebacker.
Under Korte's guidance Smith is now bench-pressing 405 pounds and has bulked up noticeably with what scouts call "good weight." More important, the extra muscle has made him quicker. As word of Smith's character spread through the scouting ranks, his stock rose. Now it may surge higher, if that is possible, when word gets out about his latest progress.
A week ago a Dallas scout visited Fayetteville and weighed Smith in at 243. He timed Smith at 4.65. "Isn't that something?" marvels Brandt. "If it'd been anybody else, I'd say they cheated. But not Billy Ray Smith."
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